MassDEP monitors volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Boston (Roxbury), Chelsea, Lynn, and Weymouth as shown on the map below. VOCs can contribute to ozone formation and some VOCs are toxic and can adversely affect human health and the environment. VOCs are ubiquitous in the environment because they are emitted by fossil fuel combustion (e.g., cars and trucks, power plants, homes and businesses), manufacturing processes (e.g., solvents), commercial and household products (e.g., paints, cleaners), and by natural sources (e.g., vegetation, forest fires).
MassDEP collects 24-hour air samples every 6 days at each of its VOC monitoring sites. MassDEP uses canisters to collect samples for most VOCs (e.g., benzene, toluene, 1,3-butadiene), and sends the samples to the Rhode Island State Health Laboratory for analysis. MassDEP uses cartridges to collect samples of a subset of VOCs called carbonyls (e.g., formaldehyde and acetaldehyde) and analyzes these samples at MassDEP’s Wall Experiment Station laboratory. MassDEP posts the monitoring data results on a monthly basis (see spreadsheets below). MassDEP also submits the data to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Air Quality System (AQS) database.
VOC Data Files
MassDEP VOC data are available in the spreadsheets below. VOC data prior to February 2020 are available from EPA’s AQS database at https://www.epa.gov/aqs.